15 July 2008

Govt rules out compensation for the north

New Vision
Monday, 14th July, 2008

By Josephine Maseruka

THE Government will not compensate the people in northern Uganda for property destroyed during the 22-year LRA war. The property includes houses and degraded land.

“It is sheer madness to think that we shall compensate people for such claims,” the disaster preparedness minister, Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, told Parliament on Thursday.

Okello Okello (UPC) had asked whether there were any plans to compensate those whose land had been degraded due to the establishment of internally displaced people’s camps and army detachments.

Kabwegyere was appearing before the committee on presidential affairs together with Prime Minister Prof. Apolo Nsibambi and other ministers in the premier’s office to defend their policy statement.

Kabwegyere argued that the displaced had to be resettled somewhere because “we could not have put them in the sky.”

But Okello Okello claimed that the army bombed areas to threaten the people out of their residences, forcing them to flee to the camps.

However, disaster preparedness state minister Musa Ecweru said the camps were built where the army could provide adequate security and the people went there voluntarily.

“We never woke up one day and decided to set up camps. I hate such lies and that is why I left the UPC.”
Okello Okello retorted: “The UPC never put people in camps. Camps are an innovation of the NRM. Now since you left, can you return our card?”

Information minister Kirunda Kivejinja said under the compensation law, one is paid the value of what they lost. He added that the burden of payment must be shared by the LRA rebels and the Government.

Kabwegyere said the camps and army units were set up in open spaces.
In a recent study on land in the north, 73% of 1,119 respondents backed compensation.

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